Peru as a travel destination

Have you noticed that you often hear about Peru as a travel destination? Twenty years ago, Peru was barely mentioned, and now it’s in all the travel industry media, and thousands of people flock there. Why is this South American country suddenly at the top of everyone’s bucket list?

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The political climate has changed

Peru has always been an extraordinary country, but until recently, it wasn’t in the public light. In the last half of the 20th century, Peru was in a stage of political upheaval. Under the direction of a series of different presidents, the country had issues with rampant inflation, severe poverty, human rights abuses, and violent terrorism. As recently as the 1990s, it was not considered a safe destination. Although the political scene continues to be turbulent and filled with drama, most of the country is relatively safe for travellers now.

Machu Picchu is every traveller’s dream

One thing Peru has done well is market the Incan ruins at Machu Picchu. This “lost city” sits atop a mountain and is shrouded in clouds every morning. Standing in the sky, watching the mist dissipate and the magical city emerges, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Years ago, the site could only be reached by hiking a gruelling four-day trek through the mountains, but now it’s possible to get to Machu Picchu by train and bus.

Peru Travel Destination - Machu Picchu

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Peru was the heart of the Incan empire

The Incas had a complex kingdom that covered a vast swath of South America, but Cusco was the Incan headquarters. The mountainous area around the city is teeming with Incan ruins, some very touristic, like Machu Picchu, and some that can only be reached by trekking long trails through the mountains. The Incan sites include massive temples, homes, whole cities, and pre-Incan ruins. You’ll also find museums teeming with pre-Columbian art and artifacts.

The landscapes are breathtaking

You will never get tired of photographing the landscapes in Peru. The country is best known for its rugged and ancient mountains, which shelter pastoral valleys dotted with mud-brick homes, llamas, and alpacas. But Peru also has miles of coastline, dozens of volcanoes, deserts, and jungle territory. Colca Canyon is deeper than the Grand Canyon, a deep split in the earth that dwarfs anything humans have created. Peru is home to 70% of the world’s tropical glaciers, and they are shrinking rapidly, so if you’d like to see them, you should go soon. Peru’s Glaciers Shrink 40%

Peru - rainbow mountain vinicunca

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The cultures of Peru are unique in the world

The entire country of Peru is a fascinating tapestry of cultures that couldn’t be more different from our lives back in Canada. People in the Andes mountains still live almost exactly as their pre-Incan ancestors did. They might have cell phones now, but they still farm with hand tools, make their own beer from corn, and weave incredible textiles from the wool of alpacas and llamas. People are living in the jungle with minimal contact with the outside world, and on Lake Titicaca, families build entire islands, houses, and boats out of reeds.

The country is warm and friendly to visitors

The Peruvian economy depends on tourism, and while tourism brings its own set of problems to the country, most people are very welcoming and happy to see you there. You can feel this warmth everywhere you go in Peru.

Peru offers a staggering variety of activities

The country has long been known to hikers and rock climbers, but there’s more to Peru than mountain sports. The coast is a surfing destination known for exciting waves. Lima has emerged as one of the leading foodie destinations in South America, famous for its ceviche and Asian fusions. People interested in textiles can study with the incredible women weavers of the Andes, and the Sacred Valley attracts spiritual seekers and yoga groups. The jungle areas are popular with animal lovers and botany enthusiasts.

Peru people - Total Advantage Travel

The Peruvian people have a lot to teach the world

Outside of Lima, a city of over 10 million people, Peru is primarily a country of agriculture, small towns, and villages. The people work very hard, and in some areas, survival is tough. However, they maintain a pace of life that allows them to connect deeply with their families, community, and environment. Music, dance, and art are as integral to their lives as food and drink. Plazas and food markets are the hub of life in Peruvian towns and villages, where people gather and socialize regularly.

Maybe Peru has yet to be on your travel radar, or perhaps you looked at it years ago but felt the country needed to be more stable to visit. You should take another look at this diverse nation. Its beautiful people, rugged landscapes, and charming way of life will win you over.

Hero Photo: Hikers enjoy a sunrise view of Machu Picchu. The great Incan city in the Andes in Peru is near the city of Cusco.

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